CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.
On Tuesday, NASA will announce which one or two private companies wins the right to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. The deal will end NASA’s expensive reliance on Russian crew transport.
NASA officials will make the long-awaited announcement at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a few years.
The contenders include SpaceX of California, already delivering space station cargo; Sierra Nevada Corp., which is developing a mini-shuttle in Colorado; and Boeing, which would assemble its crew capsules at Kennedy.
NASA astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since the shuttles retired in 2011. The latest pricetag is $71 million per seat.